A group of people in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district allegedly forcefully entered a local church last night and vandalised a statue of Jesus and Mary. They also set fire to the pastor’s car. Visuals from the spot show the car engulfed in flames and a broken statue inside the church.
The incident comes on a day when the Akal Takht Jathedar, head of the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, issued a statement against “forced conversions” by Christian missionaries.
“So-called Christian missionaries have been forcibly converting Sikhs through fraudulent practices. Sikhs and Hindus of Punjab are being misled and converted. This is happening right under the government’s nose. Though there are provisions in the law to book for superstitious practices in the name of religion, no government is ready to act against them (missionaries) due to vote bank politics,” Giani Harpreet Singh had said in a Facebook live video statement yesterday.
The attack is being seen as a repercussion of this statement; Sikh leaders have been vocal against alleged conversion attempts by Christian missionaries in the state.
Punjab is a border state, and we came to know that foreign funding is coming here to run these religious campaigns, Giani Harpreet Singh said, appealing to the Centre to “control it immediately”.
The incident is from the Thakarpur village of Patti assembly constituency of Tarn Taran district.
Nihang Sikhs, an order of Sikh warriors, have also protested against the issue recently.
The Akal Takht, backing the Nihangs, said “fake pastors” are misleading the Sikhs and converting them. “A case should be registered against these fake pastors under the Black Magic Act,” the Sikh body said.